Evidence of Character: From the "Crucible of the Community" to the "Couch of the Psychiatrist"

Judson F. Falknor, David T. Steffen
1954 University of Pennsylvania law review  
Jones was convicted upon two counts of an information charging the commission of lewd and lascivious acts upon the person of his nine year old niece. At the time of the alleged offenses, Carol, the niece, was living with Jones and his wife. She testified to the conduct of Jones upon the two occasions specified in the information, "and it clearly was a violation of the statute." In addition, she testified that Jones indulged in similar acts "lots of days," and that on one occasion, Jones "showed
more » ... her four books containing pornographic pictures and writing" prior to his lewd and lascivious conduct. "Briefly stated," said the court, "what Jones did, as related by Carol, amounted to sexual relations without penetration." Jones denied having committed any of the acts or having shown Carol any pornographic books, although he admitted "having had eight or nine pictures of nude women in his bedroom." Jones and his wife testified that their sexual relationship was mutually satisfactory but his mother-in-law "told of complaints by him that his wife did not satisfy him sexually." There was evidence that Jones had a good reputation for morality in his community. Mrs. Jones testified that Carol's reputation for truth and veracity was bad. On appeal, while conceding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction, Jones claimed error because of the rejection of the following offer of proof: At this time, rather than bringing the psychiatrist into court and having an adverse ruling on what he would testify about, I
doi:10.2307/3309893 fatcat:43axmesu2va6zgahzvqlnzuez4